Federal judge lifts ban on Nevada horse roundup
The Bureau of Land Management can resume its roundup of dozens of wild mustangs in northern Nevada, but wranglers must limit their use of electric cattle prods and take other steps to ensure the animals are treated humanely, a federal judge said Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Miranda Du's formal order lifted an injunction she issued last week blocking the roundup of 50 horses near the Idaho-Nevada line.
Although disappointed that the roundup was set to resume Friday, horse protection advocates were pleased that Du's order outlined specific conduct for the BLM.
"The judge has begun what the BLM has failed to do, and that is to establish humane standards for roundups," said Deniz Bolbol, spokeswoman for the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.
The judge prohibited the routine use of "hot shot/electric prod treatments" to expedite movement of horses through gathering and loading chutes, allowing their use only "as necessary to ensure the safety and security of the horses."
Also, BLM contract helicopter pilots who chase the horses toward the gathering traps must make sure that slower young foals aren't separated from the herd. And the judge specifically forbade the agency from driving horses into barbed-wire fences, as they did with several earlier in the roundup at the Owyhee complex about 90 miles northwest of Elko.
Laura Leigh, a photographer and director of Wild Horse Education who has been battling BLM over a series of roundups for years, captured that incident on video. It was among the evidence she submitted in obtaining last week's emergency injunction, along with footage of wranglers repeatedly shocking horses in a loading chute on Nov. 30.